Thursday, June 9, 2011

SEMI forecasts 31% rise in equipment spending and 9% manufacturing capacity increase in 2011

SEMI statistics suggests increasing capital expenditure and growing installed semiconductor manufacturing capacity in 2011. Fab construction spending, however, decelerates this year and in 2012.

"2011 is expected to be a record year for fab equipment spending. Since February, some companies have increased capex guidance and, as a result, fab equipment spending should reach an all-time high of about US$44 billion. The spending pace is expected to decline 6% to US$41 billion in 2012, yet will remain the second highest annual level on record," said Christian Gregor Dieseldorff, senior analyst of fab information in the SEMI Industry Research and Statistics group. "However, the number of new volume fabs starting construction is historically low, with potential implications for industry capacity plans in 2012 and beyond."

The SEMI database indicates that 17 new volume fabs, including 13 LED fabs, have a high probability (over 60%) of beginning construction in 2011. Excluding the LED fabs, SEMI predicts only four volume fabs will begin construction this year and another four in 2012. The SEMI fab database also now identifies candidates for investment in the potential transition to manufacturing on 450mm wafers. Sometime in 2012, the industry will likely see initial equipment expenditures for 450mm pilot development. Construction of the first 450 mm ready facilities began in 2010, and more will begin construction this year.

The earthquake in Japan on March 11 may have some short-term effect on utilization rates and capacity output, but will not have a significant impact on installed capacity, SEMI believes.

Installed capacity is expected to increase about 9% in 2011, according to SEMI. In 2010, the growth rate in capacity of foundry fabs surpassed that of memory fabs, and this trend is expected to continue in 2011 as foundry capacity will grow at a faster pace.

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